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Illinois Wrongful Death Laws

  • Losing a loved one can turn your world upside down. And when their death could have been prevented if it hadn’t been for the negligent or willful actions of another, you may feel empowered to seek justice. But before you can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois, there are various laws you need to be aware of so you can best prepare for what’s to come. 

    Below, we go into further detail about what some of the differences are between wrongful death claims and criminal charges, and other Illinois wrongful death laws you need to know. 

    Differences Between Civil Court and Criminal Court

    When you are filing a wrongful death claim, this is a civil lawsuit pursued by you and your attorney. But criminal charges the person responsible for your loved one’s death may face are different. 

    These are filed by the state’s prosecuting attorney and will seek criminal penalties such as fines and imprisonment. This is in contrast to civil court cases where you seek compensation for the various ways your life and your loved ones lives have been affected by this injustice.

    Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Illinois?

    In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Illinois, you’ll need to be the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This may be the decedent’s surviving spouse, an adult child, or some other close relative. 

    It could be anyone the decedent chose to represent their interests upon their death. However, there may be instances in which the decedent did not appoint a representative of their estate. When this happens, the courts may appoint one on their behalf.

    How Are Damages Calculated In an Illinois Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

    The laws regarding which types of losses you can be compensated for in an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit are very much in favor of the victim’s surviving families. Essentially, the courts have the authority to award compensation for any reasonable way in which the families lives have been impacted by the passing of their loved one. 

    This can include both monetary and non-monetary losses. Some of the more commonly sought damages in an Illinois wrongful death claim include:

    • Loss of companionship and love
    • Loss of society 
    • Loss of guidance and support
    • Emotional distress
    • Funeral and burial expenses
    • Medical expenses
    • Lost wages 
    • Loss of future earnings

    These are only a few of the various losses you could recover in an Illinois wrongful death claim. Your lawyer will review the specific details of your case to determine what losses you could recover and how much your lawsuit could be worth. 

    Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Chicago

    When you’ve lost a loved one and you are ready to do your part to get justice for their passing, reach out to a dedicated Chicago wrongful death lawyer at Lane & Lane, LLC. We offer free, no-obligations to individuals across Illinois who may have wrongful death claims on their hands. See what your legal options are when you find us online or give our office a call at 312-332-1400.